Friday, 27 August 2021

Sharp Practice: Battle Cry of Freedom at Moo Cow Farm

The Union forever, hurrah! boys, hurrah! 
Down with the traitors, up with the stars; 
While we rally round the flag, boys, we rally once again, 
Shouting the battle cry of freedom! 

 Battle Cry of Freedom (aka Rally 'Round the Flag) (1862)

When Phil and Jenny offered to host a large American Civil War Sharp Practice game down BIG utilising their extensive ACW collection, Andy and I jumped at the chance as it was a period neither of us had played and with the longer ranged weapons would provide a different experience from the Peninsular and American War of Independence. Jenny and I commanded the brave boys in blue with Andy and Phil controlling the secessionist rebels...

The scenario was set just before Gettysburg with Union and Confederate forces attempting to take control of the Mouquet family farm (known to most as Moo Cow farm) which being on a ridge, its windmill would provide an excellent observation post. Both sides needed to take the farm and hold it.

To the sound of the tuneless singing of 'The Bonnie Blue Flag' or some similar rebel nonsense, Captain Rhett Butler led three groups of Confederate infantry up the road the road towards the Moo Cow farm...

Supported by Lieutenant Brent Tarleton with two groups of skirmishers on his left flank.

Glory, glory, hallelujah! Lieutenant Richard M. Nixon and two groups of Union infantry march down the road fro the opposite side majestically singing 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic', putting fear in the hearts of any traitorous rebel that might hear it!

Nixon's brave boys were supported by Lieutenant Lydon Johnson's skirmishers who deployed to their right.

More brave boys in blue arrived! Three groups of Union infantry commanded by Captain John F.Kennedy.

Lieutenant Johnson's skirmishers moved up swiftly towards a small copse near the farm...

Whilst Lieutenant Nixon's led his men on a dash for the farmhouse hoping to capture it before the damned Rebs arrived!

Captain Kennedy advanced his men up to the farm rail fence and began to deploy into line supported by two more groups of skirmishers commanded by Sergeant Ronald Reagan.

Nixon's men made a dash for the farmhouse but the hill slope was steeper than they thought and they came up a little short.

Meanwhile more Rebels entered the area two groups of Confederate line commanded by Lieutenant Beau Wilkes screened by two groups of skirmishers led by Lieutenant Charles Hamilton (Phil wants these guys to be know as 'Hamilton's Heroes', I'll let you be the judge of whether they deserve such a honorific).

Johnson's skirmishers moved through the copse...

And into the green field beyond. Would they be able to reach the cover of the rail fence line before the advancing Johnny Reb got there?

Spotting the potential danger Tarleton's skirmishers hop the fence and move into the small wood on their left flank.

Approaching the Moquet family farmhouse, Captain Butler snapped his Rebels into line.

But they are beaten to possessing it by Lieutenant Johnson's men who occupied the building.

Whilst a group of Sergeant Reagan's skirmishers climbed the windmill to spot any advancing Confederates...

Such as Lieutenant Wilkes men who were trying to make their way through a field of sweetcorn.

Detached from Captain Butler's main formation, Sergeant Gerald O'Hara occupies a position behind the rail fencing Johnson's men had been moving towards and opened fire on the Union skirmishers.

Stained with the red badge of courage two brave sons of the north made the ultimate sacrifice whilst their comrades took some Shock.

Lieutenant Johnson used one of his orders to remove some of the Shock and ordered his boys to return fire!

Union bullets pierce the black hearts of three of the Rebels and the Confederates also take a point of Shock. Excellent shooting by the boys in blue!

Meanwhile in the centre, aware that the Union forces have now occupied the farmhouse, Lieutenant Nixon commanding a group on the ground floor, Sergeant George W. Bush the other on the top, Captain Butler ordered his men to cower behind a fence.

And Lieutenant Tarleton's Rebel skirmishers move up and started shooting at Johnson's boys to their front.

On the Confederate right Lieutenant Hamilton moved his skirmishers up the the farm boundary...

Whilst Lieutenant Wilkes men continued to fight their way through the sweetcorn!

Both sides exchanged some ineffective fire at the farmhouse...

Whilst Captain Kennedy ordered his infantry to open fire on the Confederate skirmishers to their front...

Inflicting Shock on the enemy formation.

On the Union right flank, Lieutenant Johnson's skirmishers lost another brave man to the insidious Rebel fire but held firm...

Whilst Nixon's and Bush's men poured fire on the Confederates hunkered down in front of the farmhouse killing one and inflicting Shock on the two groups.

Having suffered more casualties from the unerring Union skirmisher fire, despite hiding behind a fence, the Rebels continued in their attempt to defeat Johnson's boys to their front...

But with minimal success, the brave boys from the North just taking another point of Shock.

And their return fire killing another of O'Hara's Rebels and loading more Shock on them!

In the centre Captain Butler's Rebels fired a volley into the farmhouse...

And two more sons of the Union made the ultimate sacrifice.

At this stage the battle was quite delicately poised with Lieutenant Wilkes men having managed to make their way through the corn field and arrive near the farmhouse.

They pushed forward past the chicken coup towards the farm yard...

But came under fire from Sergeant Reagan's skirmishers atop the windmill who had to this point been trading fire with Hamilton's so-called 'Heroes'...

Captain Kennedy detached a group of Union line under the command of Sergeant Gerald Ford and positioned them to thwart the Confederate push.

Back at the farm house, Captain Butler ordered a Crashing Volley at the Union troops on the top floor...

Decimating the group that had been commanded by Sergeant George W. Bush and pushing them back from their firing position.

Captain Kennedy ordered more volleys at the Confederate skirmishers to his front...

The combination of casualties and Shock leaving them in a perilous situation.

Made worse by Reagan's men on the windmill who inflicted more Shock on the Rebel skirmishers forcing them back.

If that was not bad enough for Lieutenant Hamilton and his men, Captain Kennedy fired another volley at them...

Forcing one group of Confederate skirmishers back...

And routing the survivors of the other! Run Johnny Reb, run!

With the Confederate Force Morale having taken a beating, things continued to deteriorate for the Rebels as Lieutenant Wilkes' men were forced back by the weight of Union fire.

Back in the farmhouse Lieutenant Nixon combined the survivors of his two groups into one and continued to thwart the Rebel advance, despite the ten brave boys of the North now lying dead in the building.

With their Force Morale in dire straits the Confederates needed to try and seize the initiative and Lieutenant Wilkes charged forward with his men at Sergeant Ford's men...

The Gods of War(gaming) rewarded the Rebel boldness with some impressive dice results...

Which saw Sergeant Ford wounded and half his men fall victim to the Confederate cold steel. Although Lieutenant Wilkes was knocked out in the fisticuffs, the rebels ignored this by rolling well on the 'Bad Things Happen' table.

The Union survivors fled dragging the wounded Sergeant Ford to safety...

Spotting the unconscious Lieutenant Wilkes lying on the floor, Sergeant Reagan's men in the windmill opened fire on the prone traitor further wounding him and reducing the Confederate Force Morale to an extremely low level. The Rebel command did try and claim this was unsporting behaviour but such is the fate of traitors who secede from their homeland and raise arms against it.

Captain Butler's men fired another Crashing Volley into the farmhouse...

The effects of which proved too much for the survivors of Nixon's brave resistance and they retired from the farmhouse after nobly holding back the main Confederate advance for so long.

The success of the wounded Lieutenant Wilkes and his rabble of rebels was to be short lived as Sergeant Reagan ordered his skirmishers to fire into the enemy rear...

Which caused them to run away from the Union fire which saw another roll on the 'Bad Things Happen' table which resulted in the Confederate Force Morale falling to zero and the Union claim a righteous victory!

Whilst there was some 'friendly discussion' between the Confederate commanders over who was to blame for their ignominious defeat, it was another enjoyable battle with Andy, Jenny and Phil and fun to try a new period. Given the terrain restricting line of sight we didn't really get a chance to use the small arms at the long maximum ranges allowed in the rules but still a lot of fun and it would be good to revisit the War Between the States sometime, or maybe even paint some of my own stockpiled ACW figures!


  1. Steve,
    First the AWI Battle Report and now this! Wow. Great figures, report and terrain as usual.

    1. I can't claim any credit for anything but some of the dice in the background shots in the ACW one ;-)

  2. If I ever get round to SP it would be for the ACW...looks and sounds like a great game!

    1. Easier to paint than Napoleonics I suppose... :D

  3. Very cool! I didnt know there was another Moo Cow Farm - in 1916 Mouquet Farm France was a focal point for ANZAC attacks in the Poziers area and cost 11,000 Australian casualties in failed assaults.

  4. Very very nice. Got a soft spot for ACW and one day (one day...) I'll dip my toe in the period properly. Fantastic looking game (second one I've read today as I catch up on a backlog of blogposts after holiday!).